Civil War Blog

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Stories of the Pennsylvania Memorial Dedication at Andersonville, Georgia

Posted By on March 31, 2012

Efforts to get the aging veterans who had been imprisoned at Andersonville, Georgia, to the dedication ceremony of the Pennsylvania Memorial to be held on 7 December 1905, continued throughout the year.

Free Trips for Veterans.  A dozen vets from this city and vicinity who were imprisoned at Andersonville during the Civil War will be interested to know that another effort is being made to provide them free transportation to the prison site at the dedication of the monument there this fall. (Wilkes-Barre Times, 7 July 1905).

The initial efforts only guaranteed free rail transportation within the state of Pennsylvania.  The G.A.R. continued to lobby to have the entire trip paid for all Pennsylvania veterans who had served time at Andersonville during the war.


Free Trip to Andersonville.  All surviving honorably discharged soldiers who served in Pennsylvania commands, and who were confined at any time during the War of the Rebellion in the Confederate prison at Andersonville, Georgia, are entitled to transportation to attend the dedication of the monument at that place on 16 November. (Wilkes-Barre Times, 10 Oct 1905).

By October the final decision was in place that all who had been prisoners would be able to attend free of charge if they were able and wished to do so.


Old Soldier’s Fatal Fall Downstairs.  Survivor of Andersonville Prison Horrors, Jonathan Fisher was Killed at His Sister’s Home.  Special to the Inquirer.  Mt. Holly, N.J., Oct. 24 — Falling downstairs early this morning, as the probably result of an attack of heart disease, Jonathan Fisher of Grant Street was killed.  Big gashes were cut in his face and head. Fisher was about 70 years of age and lived with his sister, Mrs. Amanda Thomas.  For years he was an engineer at the Pennsylvania Railroad’s tank station here.  His health was shattered by long confinement and ill-treatment in the Andersonville Prison, from which he was released at the close of the Civil War in a starving condition. (Philadelphia Inquirer, 25 October 1905).

Although Fisher was not from Pennsylvania, his death was a reminder to the surviving veterans that they too were approaching the end of their lives and of the toll that life in the Andersonville Prison had taken on their health.

The Survivors of Andersonville (Wilkes-Barre Times, 30 November 1905).

Throughout the state of Pennsylvania meetings were held to plan for the trip.  Many of the veterans intended to travel with members of their families – sons and daughters – who could assist them in the journey.  Few of the survivors were younger than 60 years old and most were in their late 60s or early 70s.

Governor’s Party in Heavy Blow.  Some Seasick.  Coast Storm Lasted Three Days and Pennsylvania Commission Pitched About.  Mrs. Pennypacker Fell to Deck and Was Hurt.  (Philadelphia Inquirer, 5 December 1905).

Governor Pennypacker, Mrs. Pennypacker, and the Pennsylvania Monument Commission left Philadelphia by ship headed for Savannah, Georgia, and were caught in a storm.  Nearly all of the members of the Governor’s party got seasick and Mrs. Pennypacker was hurt when she was tossed to the deck.  The group arrived in Savannah and still had to travel by rail – first to Atlanta, and then to Americus, Georgia.

Veterans Going to Andersonville Again.  (Harrisburg Patriot, 6 December 1905).

The Patriot reported the departure of area veterans from Steelton, Dauphin County.

Finally, the dedication took place on 7 December 1905 and was reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer, 8 December 1905:

Andersonville’s Pen of Horrors Commemorated.  Governor Pennypacker Receives Beautiful Monument to Pennsylvania’s Dead.  Presents It At Once to the Government.

Andersonville, Georgia, 7 December 1905 — Beautiful weather marked the dedicatory exercises of the magnificent memorial erected by the State of Pennsylvania to her noble sons whose lives were sacrificed in Andersonville’s prison pen — martyrs to the greatest cruelties that civilization has ever known.  The day was partly cloudy, sufficient to protect those who journeyed over the national reservation and who stood for several hours during the afternoon when the dedication took place.

Governor Pennypacker and staff and the Pennsylvania Commission arrived at 10 a.m.  They had passed through Andersonville from Atlanta three hours before, having stopped at the request of the mayor and citizens at Americus, Georgia, an enterprising and growing place of 10,000 population.  There a reception was accorded them.

Mayor Haawkins introduced Colonel Robert E. Lee, who made an address of welcome, to which Governor Pennypacker replied.  The party then enjoyed a drive through the city and suburbs.  Breakfast was served on the train.

Survivors of Andersonville.

Arriving here it was found that 424 survivors of the Andersonville prison had preceded them.  in addition to these there were fully two hundred Pennsylvania soldiers who had not been at Andersonville, but some of them had been inmates of other rebel prisons.  There were also several hundred civilians of the Keystone State, some of them young men, the sons of veterans of the Civil War, and the sons of Andersonville victims.

Fully one hundred women, the wives and daughters of veterans, who had accompanied them from Pennsylvania, were also present.  Every section of the state was represented.

News articles are from the on-line resources of the Free Library of Philadelphia.



One Response to “Stories of the Pennsylvania Memorial Dedication at Andersonville, Georgia”

  1. Max Terman says:

    You may be interested in the story of my 82nd Ohio ancestor who was captured at Gettysburg and survived Andersonville. The story is told in two novels. See

    #Civil War novel based on #pension file http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001HPJGH0

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